Savings and Credit for U.S. Micro-enterprises: Individual Development Accounts and Loans for Microenterprise

How does integration of Individual Development Accounts and microenterprise development help?
Download 33 pages

This paper provides a framework for the integration of two asset-building instruments, Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) and loans for microenterprise. It reviews current practices in integrating IDA and microenterprise development strategies which include:

  • Increasing deployment of loan capital for addressing barriers to low demand and deployment, including debt aversion, credit history, and equity gaps;
  • Promoting healthy capital structures and mitigating lender risk. This helps a microentrepreneur to develop a healthy capital structure that balances debt with equity, reduces the lender's exposure to risk, and enhances a growing business' chances of survival.

The authors make some initial observations of the integration practices:

  • Depending on an organization's target market, microentrepreneurs may prefer to save for their businesses rather than accumulate additional debt;
  • Based on the risk tolerance of the organization, a microloan may be provided up front or only after the successful completion of the IDA program;
  • Microborrowers may also benefit from entering IDA programs, which can improve both human and financial capacity.

The paper suggests that in order to fully test the potential benefits of integration; further research must be done to measure a number of institutional and individual indicators. The authors recommend that studies be undertaken to measure the impact of integration on:

  • Recruitment and retention of participants;
  • Participant transaction costs;
  • Targeting of lower-income populations;
  • Performance of microenterprise loans.

About this Publication

By Glackin, C. E. W. & Mahony, E. G.